Empirical Labs DISTRESSOR Analog Knee Compression Alternatives

Empirical Labs DISTRESSOR Analog Knee Compression

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Unfortunately the Empirical Labs DISTRESSOR Analog Knee Compression is no longer available. This page is here for reference. Check out the great alternatives on this page, or contact us to speak with one of our sales advisors about similar products.

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Unfortunately the Empirical Labs DISTRESSOR Analog Knee Compression is no longer available. This page is here for reference. Check out the great alternatives on this page, or contact us to speak with one of our sales advisors about similar products.

Need help? Contact our product specialists.

Description

Empirical Labs DISTRESSOR Analog Knee Compression

The product that started it all for Empirical Labs. Born of founder Dave Derr’s love of classic compressors like the 1176, LA-2A and Gain Brain (among others), the Distressor incorporates his favorite sonic characteristics of these, along with other unique and interesting features that have made it a staple for audio engineers all over the world. With over 28,000 units in the field, it’s safe to say that the Distressor is one of the best selling high end compressors of all time… if not THE best selling. A prominent recording engineer recently wagered that there probably was not a top 40 record made in the last five years that didn’t have at least one Distressor on it.

Besides providing a wide range of control and a unique feature set, the Distressor offers a warm, vintage sound by using a custom designed gain control circuit. This “warmth” or “vintage sound” has become a major issue in the last few decades, as the super clear and linear digital technology does next to nothing to soften “harsh” sounds, nor emphasize the bass frequencies in music sources. Conversely, older analog tape, vinyl records and tube equipment could not be prevented from coloring the sound, often to the frustration of recording engineers. However, many people now realize that this coloring can be extremely pleasant and musical. Digital technology is often referred to as “cold” and “brittle” among other terms (although we prefer “unforgiving”).

Features:

  • Classic knee sound - With modern noise specs and improved performance. Really grabs.
  • Programmable analog distortion/warmth - helpful in the pristine but unforgiving digital world. Three audio modes providing user programmable, warm harmonic distortion. Emphasized tubelike, 2nd harmonic in clean and Distort 2 mode. In Distort 3 mode, the distortion becomes dominated by 3rd harmonic, more similar to tape.
  • Distortion indicator lights - A 1% LED and a "Redline" (3%) LED. No hard clipping until a few dB past "Redline".
  • Advanced built-in sidechain EQ - High mid band emphasis prevents harsh, edgy guitars or vocals from hurting innocent ears. Low cut keeps the low "sum & difference" frequencies from pumping the upper frequencies of source material.
  • Fool proof operation - Even though there are 384 possible settings (not counting knob settings), it's almost impossible to get a bad sound. Keep all knobs on 5 or 6 (around middle) with ratio at 6:1 and you won't go wrong.
  • Eight unique curves - From the 1:1 mode that simply warms up signal with low order harmonics without intentional compression, to the "Nuke" setting - a brick wall limiting curve that shines on live drum room mics. Each curve has its own personality, and release shape. Most exceptional is the 10:1 "Opto" ratio which uses separate circuitry to emulate the oldest (and valued) "light controlled" devices, such as the LA-2A etc. See manual to emulate other compressors of old.
  • Discrete and integrated combination - the best of speed/linearity with repeatability. Hand tested & selected components.
  • Huge knobs with high resolution numbering - For easy readability and repeatable settings. They also go to 10 1/2 .
  • Locked, calibrated, output level - Allows speed in setting tape and live mix levels.
  • Stereo Strappable
  • Switchable 115/230 volt operation - Extra fuse provided inside unit.
  • Over designed power supplies - Runs cool, allowing cabinet to be sealed - without heat vents. Long life components.
  • Single height and light weight - Classic sound in a small, extremely reliable package.
  • True bypass - Know what it's really doing. All contacts doubled up for maximum reliability. No internal audio connectors.
  • XLR and 1/4" phone ins and outs - XLR fully balanced, transformerless design, pin 2 hot. Changeable by user to pin 3 hot!
  • All metal film and Roederstein resistors in the audio path - top quality components. Many military spec. parts.
  • Interface and features found nowhere else.
  • Hand wired, calibrated in USA. Shipping weight 12 Lbs.

Specifications:

  • Frequency Response – 2 Hz to 160 kHz in clean audio mode (+0, -3 dB). Response is shaped in distortion modes (Dist 2, Dist 3).
  • Dynamic Range – 110 dB from max. output to min. output in 1:1 mode. Greater than 100 dB signal to noise in distort 3 mode.
  • Distortion – ranges between .02% and 20% depending on distortion mode and release times set on front panel.
  • I/O – DC Coupled input and outputs.
  • Time Constants – Attack range 50uS – 50mS. Release range .05 sec to 3.5 seconds, normal modes and up to 20 seconds in 10:1 opto mode. Time constants are dependent on ratio.
  • Power Consumption – 15 Watts Max.
  • Metal Chassis – single height 1.75″ high, 10″ deep, 19″ wide.
  • Shipping info – 12.1 lbs mono, 24.2 lbs Stereo pair. Mono box dimensions 22.5″ x 18.5″ x 3 1/4″. Stereo Pair box dimensions 22.5″ x 18.5″ x 6 1/4

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